1 is 2 Many Blog
- Posted byon April 8, 2013 at 11:26 AM EDT
Every April, we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year, with rape in the headlines nearly every day, we speak out with even greater urgency to honor survivors and prevent sexual violence.
We know the devastating statistics: 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes. That’s 18 million women in this country who have been raped, and more than 1 million rapes that occur every year. The vast majority of these assaults occur when the victims are under the age of 25, and those under the age of 18 are at the greatest risk. These numbers are real, but they don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell of the broken trust when the attacker is a friend, a trusted colleague, or a family member. They don’t tell of the suicidal feelings, the depression, or of the PTSD. And, they don’t tell of the courage survivors demonstrate when they work every day to put their lives back together.
Across the federal government, we are working to support survivors and to prevent sexual violence. Last year, the Department of Justice modernized the definition of rape used to collect our nation’s crime statistics. This year, the Department of Justice is working with law enforcement agencies to implement this change and develop new guidelines for investigating sexual assault cases. The Office on Violence Against Women is funding training that will help communities address their backlogs of rape kits and improve prosecution of sexual assault crimes. The Office of Victims of Crime is supporting the development of a telemedicine center that will help bring sexual assault forensic exams to victims in rural and isolated communities.
- Posted byon March 14, 2013 at 11:30 AM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a Domestic Violence Homicide Reduction Event at the Montgomery County Executive Office Building in Rockville, MD, March 13, 2013. Also pictured are (from left) Janet Blackburn, Attorney General Eric Holder, Actress Mariska Hargitay, and Chief Jeff Spaulding, Chief of Police of the Westminster Police Department. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Yesterday I attended an event held by Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder focused on reducing domestic violence homicides. The Vice President spoke movingly about the changes that have occurred since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act but also reminded us that three women a day still die as a result of domestic violence. The Attorney General announced grants to twelve communities to screen victims for risk of homicide and create high risk teams to contain these dangerous offenders. He stressed the importance of understanding the warning signs that could indicate the risk of homicide is increasing and linking those victims with services. The Vice President was joined by Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, domestic violence advocate Janet Blackburn, and state and local officials from around Maryland.
The event was held in Maryland to showcase the success of their model lethality assessment program. By screening victims for risk factors at crime scenes, in hospital emergency rooms, and in court and linking those most at risk with immediate crisis intervention services, Maryland has reduced its domestic violence homicide rate by 34% over the past five years. The Vice President also highlighted the work of Newburyport, Massachusetts, which launched a multi-disciplinary high risk team to identify and address the most dangerous cases of domestic violence in their community. Since beginning this approach in 2005, there have been no domestic violence homicides in Newburyport. The grants announced today will help communities around the country replicate these two successful models.
- Posted byon October 1, 2012 at 5:49 PM EDT
Today marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. From its humble origins in 1981 as a Day of Unity, this month has become a time to celebrate survivors, congratulate advocates, empower victims, and mourn the deaths of those lost to domestic violence. Around the country, communities are coming together this month to hold vigils, public awareness programs, survivor speak outs and town hall meetings.
At the White House, we know that this month would not be possible without the lifelong dedication of those on the front lines. This month we honor the hotline workers who work the night shift to be there around the clock for victims in need. We pay tribute to the shelter workers who show that they care every day and the law enforcement officers who treat victims with dignity and respect when they knock on a door. We acknowledge the prosecutors who take on tough cases and the doctors who screen their patients for domestic violence. We appreciate the community-based organizations who reach people in their neighborhoods and the faith leaders who speak out about ending domestic violence. Most of all, we honor the women, men, and children who have survived violence.
Our commitment to survivors is reflected in the Obama Administration’s efforts to raise awareness and prevent domestic violence. Earlier this year, President Obama directed federal agencies to develop policies to assist victims of domestic violence in the federal workforce (read the Presidential memorandum). Through Vice President Biden’s 1 is 2 Many campaign, we released a public service announcement featuring professional athletes and other role models speaking out against dating violence (watch the PSA).
Through the Affordable Care Act, women in many health plans will have access to domestic violence screening and counseling as a preventative service without co-payments, deductibles or other cost-sharing. In an effort to save the lives of the three women a day who still die as a result of domestic violence, the Justice Department developed a new project to reduce domestic violence homicides through screening, linking victims with services and developing high-risk teams. Through these and other initiatives, we are doing our part to assist survivors and stop violence before it starts.
- Posted byon September 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM EDT
On September 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law. This groundbreaking legislation was the result of many years of dedication by women’s advocates and the incredible leadership of then-Senator Biden.
I was working as an advocate in Florida, and I remember it well. For those of us on the frontlines, that was the day everything changed. No longer did we stand alone in the fight to end rape and battering. Finally, we had validation from the highest levels of our government that violence against women was a national crisis and a high priority. From that day forward, our local hotlines were inundated with calls from victims who felt they could finally step forward and seek help.
Over the next decade, advocates and policy-makers developed powerful alliances to implement the new law. In Florida, VAWA funding helped start domestic violence task forces in rural communities where services were nonexistent. In the isolated mountains of Tennessee, VAWA brought medical and crisis services to rape victims. In Michigan, legal advocates helped victims obtain protective orders. In West Virginia, in the first case prosecuted under VAWA’s new federal crimes, an offender was convicted of interstate domestic violence and kidnapping after beating his wife to unconsciousness and driving her around in the trunk of his car for six days while she was critically injured.
Today, you can see VAWA in action in local communities all across the country. Through programs funded by VAWA, police officers and prosecutors are trained to understand the needs of victims, specialized law enforcement units investigate these crimes, and transitional housing programs help victims rebuild their lives. As a result, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent since the passage of the Act.
- Posted byon August 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is the second post in a “Campus Spotlight” series that shares what extraordinary teens and young adults have been doing to help end dating violence across the country and highlight ways YOU can be a strong advocate. This series will feature some of the young people, schools, and organizations that have been working hard to spread awareness, provide resources, and prevent dating violence on their campuses and in their communities.
The advocacy organization Men Can Stop Rape addresses violence against women by promoting healthy, nonviolent masculinity and proactive solutions that engage men as allies and inspire them to feel motivated and capable of ending men’s violence against women.
In January 2012, Men Can Stop Rape launched the bystander intervention campaign “Where Do You Stand?” with the help of college and high school students from the Washington, D.C. area. Pat McGann, a Men Can Stop Rape advocate who was present at the launch, believes “there’s a clear, positive role for men to play in prevention that isn’t suggesting that they commit assault but does suggest they have a responsibility to friends and others to stand up to it.”
Members of campus Men of Strength Clubs from American University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Washington, D.C. area high schools attended the launch at Georgetown University, during which young men took part in training activities to equip themselves with the skills they need to intervene before sexual assault occurs. The program intends to educate high school and college men on ways to intervene in potentially violent situations through skits and group discussions.
- Posted byon August 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is our kick-off post of the “Campus Spotlight” blog post series, which will share what extraordinary teens and young adults have been doing to help end dating violence across the country and highlight ways YOU can be a strong advocate. This series will feature some of the young people, schools, and organizations that have been working hard to spread awareness, provide resources, and prevent dating violence on their campuses and in their communities.
The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness initiative designed to prevent dating violence by teaming up with colleges and universities across America. The campaign was created in 2005 by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. It has since spread to more than 100 campuses in 27 states.
Red Flag Campaign Coordinator Kate Mccord explains, “The campaign uses a bystander intervention strategy—encouraging friends and other campus community members to say something when they see warning signs (“red flag”) for dating violence.” McCord believes that “The bystander intervention strategy sets The Red Flag Campaign apart from other strategies by engaging men as allies in the work to end dating violence. It recognizes and affirms that men are invested in the well-being of their friends and partners and are a critical component to changing attitudes and behaviors that lead to dating violence.”
Colleges have supported the campaign by organizing awareness weeks and blanketing their campuses with red flags. Arkansas Tech University (ATU) students have embraced the Red Flag Campaign on their campus by organizing an annual dating violence awareness week. Julie Mikels-Schluterman, Professor of Sociology, brought the campaign to ATU because it coupled awareness with prevention and covered a diverse array of relationships. More specifically, Mikels-Schluterman likes that the campaign is “diverse in the relationships it depicts, no matter what sexual orientation or race” and that the “campaign provides scripts on how you should respond if your friend is in an abusive relationship.”
White House Blogs
- The White House Blog
- Middle Class Task Force
- Council of Economic Advisers
- Council on Environmental Quality
- Council on Women and Girls
- Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Management and Budget
- Office of Public Engagement
- Office of Science & Tech Policy
- Office of Urban Affairs
- Open Government
- Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Social Innovation and Civic Participation
- US Trade Representative
- Office National Drug Control Policy